You know they wouldn’t last: The Decline of the Civil-Rights Establishment
Now, a couple passages here from Shelby Steele, “The Decline of the Civil-Rights Establishment
The Revs. Jackson and Sharpton have been consigned to a hard fate: They can never be more than redundancies, echoes of the great men they emulate because America has changed. Hard to be a King or Mandela today when your monstrous enemy is no more than the cherubic George Zimmerman.
Why did the civil-rights leadership use its greatly depleted moral authority to support Trayvon Martin? This young man was, after all, no Rosa Parks — a figure of indisputable human dignity set upon by the rank evil of white supremacy. Trayvon threw the first punch and then continued pummeling the much smaller Zimmerman. Yes, Trayvon was a kid, but he was also something of a menace. The larger tragedy is that his death will come to very little. There was no important principle or coherent protest implied in that first nose-breaking punch. It was just dumb bravado, a tough-guy punch.
“The civil-rights leadership rallied to Trayvon’s cause (and not to the cause of those hundreds of black kids slain in America’s inner cities this very year) to keep alive a certain cultural ‘truth’ that is the sole source of the leadership’s dwindling power. Put bluntly, this leadership rather easily tolerates black kids killing other black kids. But it cannot abide a white person (and Mr. Zimmerman, with his Hispanic background, was pushed into a white identity by the media over his objections) getting away with killing a black person without undermining the leadership’s very reason for being.
“The purpose of today’s civil-rights establishment is not to seek justice, but to seek power for blacks in American life based on the presumption that they are still, in a thousand subtle ways, victimized by white racism. This idea of victimization is an example of what I call a ‘poetic truth.’ Like poetic license, it bends the actual truth in order to put forward a larger and more essential truth — one that, of course, serves one’s cause,” but that has no real basis in truth.
“Poetic truths succeed by casting themselves as perfectly obvious: ‘America is a racist nation’; ‘the immigration debate is driven by racism’; ‘Zimmerman racially stereotyped Trayvon.’ And we say, ‘Yes, of course,’ lest we seem to be racist. Poetic truths work by moral intimidation, not reason.” Exactly right.